Explore Michigan's Other Half
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Grand Haven: 616-844-3388
Traverse City: 231-929-3388
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Traverse City: 231-929-3388
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Stand up Paddle Boards in Traverse City, Michigan, Grand haven from Wet Mitten surf shop with info on shop, size, locations.

STAND UP PADDLE BOARD INTRODUCTION AND BUYER'S GUIDE

Stand Up Paddle Boarding has seen a tremendous increase in popularity in recent years thanks to many top surfers bringing the ancient Hawaiian practice into the mainstream. SUP'ing can be done in waves, flat water, rivers, inland lakes or oceans; making it accessible to just about anyone interested in taking up the sport. Besides being able to SUP just about anywhere unlike regular surfing, it's also fairly easy to learn, fun and a great core work-out!

If you’re interested in Stand Up Paddle boarding, and need some help deciding which board is right for you, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will provide insight into how to pick the best SUP boards for your needs.

Stand Up Paddle boards are different from traditional surfboards in both shape and size. Below we offer some insight as to how these variables will effect performance.

GENERAL BOARD SIZING INFO

Generally speaking, toss aside most of what you may have heard about the length of a board. As far as stability goes, we really focus on the width and thickness of a board. Length obviously plays a role in the overall volume of a board and thus stability, but how much the board tips side to side in the water and how high it floats out of the water will both be determined primarily by the width and the thickness. Aside from those factors, there are many things to consider when deciding on a board shape/size. Is it for you or for your whole family also? Who will the primary user be? What are your purposes: recreational, surfing, touring, etc. The best thing to do to help narrow down your search is talk to a local shop owner and let them guide you through the process.

ROCKER

What you consider the best SUP board to buy will vary depending on where you plan to use it. Stand Up Paddle boarding is fun in a variety of water conditions from lakes and rivers to open ocean and surf zones. An important variable to consider is the amount of rocker a board has. Rocker refers to a board’s upward curve from nose to tail when viewed from profile. This curve has a huge impact on the performance of SUP surfboards. A lot of rocker, or dramatic curve, will turn well in the surf, but it will be slower in flat water. Flatter boards, without much rocker, glide well in flat water but may be hard to turn and easier to nosedive in waves.

In short, if you plan to use your SUP in calm waters or inland lakes, a longer board with less rocker will track (hold a line) and glide better, and be more efficient during your paddle sessions.

If you're looking to surf waves you will want a board with slightly more rocker. This will enable you to turn on the wave easier and also reduce the chance of nosediving while dropping into the wave.

WIDTH

The wider the board, the more stable it will feel. The downside is you may lose efficiency and your SUP will be a little less maneuverable (if performance in the surf is important). Although, if you are looking for a good all-around board that the whole family can enjoy the wider/thicker boards are generally the way to go.

TOURING/RACE SUP's vs RECREATIONAL/SURF SUP's

Touring or race SUP's are generally longer and have a pointed front with a V-shaped bottom through the front of the board that then tapers off to a flat bottom toward the middle to back of the board. The purpose of this SUP design is decrease the resistance of paddling and increase the tracking ability and speed. Although slightly narrower and thus tippier side to side, and not great for surfing, touring and race paddle boards are a blast for flat water distance. They allow you to cover much more distance and track easily in a straight line without switching sides too often with your paddle. The possible downside of a touring or race board is that they're typically more expensive than a regular 'all-around' SUP since they involve a slightly more complicated construction process. The up side of a touring or race board is the ability to cover large amounts of distance with relatively low physical exertion compared to a traditional SUP. A good analogy would be a mountain bike vs a road bike. Touring/race SUP's are the road bikes of the water. With racing becoming more and more popular and widespread this style of board will increasingly become more prevalent.

STOP IN AND SEE US!

When it comes to puchasing a stand up paddle board, there's no substitute for getting friendly and professional in-store advice. So please give us a call or stop in to our Grand Haven or Traverse City location if you have further questions about the exciting and fast growing sport known as Stand Up Paddle!

126 S. Union St. Traverse City, MI 49684 - 231-929-3388

301 N Harbor St. Grand Haven, MI 49417 - 616-844-3388

Happy paddling from the Wet Mitten Crew!

SURFING LAKE MICHIGAN

Surrounded by the beautiful Great Lakes on all sides, Michigan is a freshwater surfers dream. From St. Joe and South Haven, up to Holland and Grand Haven, and northward to Frankfort, Leeland and Northport; Michigan's west coast is home to a large number freshwater surf breaks.

SURFBOARD SIZING / BUYING TIPS

When deciding to buy a surfboard for Lake Michigan or other Great Lakes, getting the right size in regards to length, width and thickness is very important for your surfing success. Speaking in general terms, the longer and wider the surfboard the more stability, buoyancy and paddling speed it will have. These factors make the learning process much more enjoyable and will minimize the frustrations of learning. Surfboards that have more flotation are easier to paddle and catch waves with. With the Great Lakes being freshwater, they are slightly less buoyant than saltwater oceans which is just one more reason to be sure your first board has ample flotation to get you surfing your first waves. Depending on a persons weight, a good first surfboard will be in the 7'6" to 9'0" range and as you progress and gain confidence and skill it is possible to get into a smaller surfboard to increase maneuverability. The down side of shorter boards is they are harder to catch waves with as they have less buoyancy. To many though, this is a small price to pay to have the turning ability once on a wave.

LAKE MICHIGAN SURF BREAKS

Ideal surfing conditions on Lake Michigan are created by wind driven lake swell, so the ideal surf location along Lake Michigan's shoreline will hinge on what direction the wind is blowing. On a strong Southwest breeze, the further northward you go up the shoreline the cleaner and bigger the swell will be due to the increased amount of "fetch" there is, i.e. the waves have a longer stretch of open water to increase in size. With a SW wind there are numerous good surf breaks up the shoreline starting with the north side of Holland's pier, the north side of Grand Haven's pier, North Muskegon, Montague and on up to Frankfort and Leeland. Surfing anywhere south of Holland on a SW wind usually will not be that big unless the wind is extremely strong.

Switching directions now: A strong N or NW wind will create the best surf along the southwest shoreline of Michigan. If the wind is strong enough and west enough the larger waves will start around the Muskegon area and will increase in size as you drive south. The south side of Grand Havens pier can produce some nice clean swell, and due to proximity is where we like to surf when we dont have much time to drive somewhere. If we do have time to drive a little while we'll head down to surf the south side of South Haven's pier. That can be an exciting, clean and very big break with the right North wind conditions. If you go much farther south than South Haven on a NW wind usually it will become to onshore and washed out. St. Joe and Northern Indiana also have some great surf breaks if the area is experiencing NNE and NE breezes.

Don't hesitate to drop us a line (ben@wetmitten.com- Grand Haven, john@wetmitten.com- Traverse City) for more info on Michigan surf locations or board sizing questions.

Welcome To Our Store

Welcome to Wet Mitten! We are a family owned Michigan based company, specializing in stand-up paddle (SUP), surf, and skate/longboard gear, along with our Wet Mitten branded wear. We also operate as a full service stand up paddle board rental business in the summer months.

We at Wet Mitten Surf Shop invite you to get out on the water and "Explore Michigan's other half"

Visit us soon at one of our two family owned and operated locations:

Grand Haven Location 301 N Harbor Dr, Suite B-3 Grand Haven, MI 49417 (616) 844-3388

Traverse City Location 126 S Union St. Traverse City, MI 49684 (231) 929-3388

Wet Mitten Surf Shop ©2015 • 301 N Harbor, Grand Haven, MI 49417 • (616) 844-3388 • 126 S Union, Traverse City, MI 49684 • (231) 929-3388
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